Strassel begins by stating flatly that "fear [of Barr] is what’s driving this week’s blitzkrieg of Attorney General William Barr." It takes a while, but she eventually comes out with a succinct explanation for that fear:
Mr. Barr made real news in that Senate hearing, and while the press didn’t notice, Democrats did. The attorney general said he’d already assigned people at the Justice Department to assist his investigation of the origins of the Trump-Russia probe. He said his review would be far-reaching ...
Do not underestimate how many powerful people in Washington have something to lose from Mr. Barr’s probe. Among them: Former and current leaders of the law-enforcement and intelligence communities. The Democratic Party pooh-bahs who paid a foreign national (Mr. Steele) to collect information from Russians and deliver it to the FBI. The government officials who misused their positions to target a presidential campaign. The leakers. The media. More than reputations are at risk. Revelations could lead to lawsuits, formal disciplinary actions, lost jobs, even criminal prosecution.
Let's see. "Former and current leaders of the law-enforcement and intelligence communities." OK, I'll take a stab at that: James Comey, John Brennan, James Clapper--for starters.
And that brings us to CTH: Big Puzzle Pieces Connecting – The CIA, FBI, and 2016 Political Surveillance is Merging … Be patient, and you'll see where this goes.
sundance's basic thesis is that the whole Russia Hoax operation was a cooperative effort that, on the operational level and much of the planning level, involved the CIA and FBI working hand in glove. We've seen plenty of evidence for this; that much isn't controversial. Another non-controversial underpinning to the Russia Hoax (although rarely mentioned in the MSM) is the FISA abuse that exploited NSA databases for US Person information for political purposes--probably going back to 2012. You may recall there was a presidential election in that year. Admiral Mike Rogers, then head of NSA, blew the whistle on this abuse and went straight to the FISA Court (FISC). In turn, FISC Chief Judge Rosemary Collyer wrote a report that laid bare all the illegalities, citing the FBI in particular.
That much is known among those who have been following the Russia Hoax. What isn't so widely known is that Judge Collyer's report documents, in a footnote, an enormously important link between the FBI and the CIA that is central to the illegal exploitation of the NSA databases.
Briefly, the CIA is expressly forbidden to investigate US citizens inside the United States--that is the province of the FBI. The fear is that were the CIA permitted to spy on US citizens domestically they would quickly become a true secret police or domestic intelligence service operating extra legally to conduct political surveillance.
However, what Judge Collyer discovered was that the FBI and the CIA had entered into a "memorandum of understanding" according to which the CIA was given access to "FBI systems." In other words, behind the back of the FISC, the FBI agreed to provide the CIA and its contractors access to "702" information--enabling the CIA to engage in illegal domestic spying. Judge Collyer found that over a period of years stretching back to 2012, over 85% of the "702" searches conducted supposedly by the FBI (but in reality often by others) were in violation of 702 "minimization procedures." Which is to say, they were illegal no matter who conducted the searches, but grossly illegal when conducted by the CIA. The FBI might claim lax controls, but the CIA was conducting searches under the "memorandum of understanding" that were expressly forbidden. As Judge Collyer noted, no "memorandum of understanding" can change the law.
Here's how sundance spells it out:
CIA operatives (contractors) were using FBI portal access (per the secret agreement) to exploit the NSA database and extract search results. Remember, the CIA is not supposed to be conducting surveillance, aka “spying”, inside the U.S. on American citizens.
In essence the secret agreement, unknown to the court, was the CIA hiding their extraction of U.S. person information by using FBI database access.
Now, interagency memorandums of understanding are entered into frequently, but they are agreed upon at the highest levels. Therefore, the presumption must be that, while the legal types drew them up, only the Directors of the FBI and the CIA could finally enter into the understanding in question.
Of course, the FBI is a part of the DoJ, so one might presume that the National Security Division (NSD) of the DoJ would also be aware of the understanding. Therefore, when IG Michael Horowitz, the DoJ's own in house watchdog, came knocking, wanting to conduct oversight of NSD, there was a bit of a ruckus. Again, sundance:
In 2015 the Office of Inspector General requested oversight and it was Deputy AG Sally Yates who responded with a lengthy 58-page legal explanation saying, essentially, ‘nope – not allowed.’ (PDF HERE) All of the DOJ is subject to oversight, except the NSD.
The secret MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) between the CIA and FBI was the reason why the DOJ-NSD could never allow inspector general oversight.
In the Obama-era political surveillance programs the lines between the CIA and FBI were blurred. They were working together through contractors.
But Admiral Mike Rogers blew the whistle on that little game.
Now, let's backtrack. Sundance makes the case that behind the redactions in Judge Collyer's report the date that the "memorandum of understanding" was entered into was in 2012. You can follow the link above to follow his argument in detail--I'll simply say that I find it convincing. So, if the Directors of the FBI and CIA were the ones who entered into this illegal "memorandum of understanding," well, who were the Directors in 2012?
At the CIA David Petraeus was Director from September 6, 2011 to November 9, 2012. He was succeeded by Mike Morell. So, one of those two, and likely Petraeus.
At the FBI, the Director from September 4, 2001 to September 4, 2013 was ... Robert Mueller. The same Robert Mueller who just finished two years tormenting POTUS Donald J. Trump. Oh my!
So, to our list of "powerful people in Washington [who] have something to lose from Mr. Barr’s probe. Among them: Former and current leaders of the law-enforcement and intelligence communities," could we add Sally Yates and Robert Mueller? I don't see why not, if AG Barr's review of what's been going on is, indeed, "far-reaching."
I say, get all these people in front of a Grand Jury. Let's find out who else knew about this.